Sociotechnical obstacles to archaeological data reuse

Adela Sobotkova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The ease of digital data capture and the proliferation of concepts such as the data deluge suggest that modern researchers are drowning in datasets. Yet citations of archaeological datasets are few and far between, pointing to low rates of data reuse. This article explores the difficulties that surround data reuse in large-scale regional research, including the cost and coordination necessary to extract useful data from digitized PDF reports. The amount of correction and enhancement matches the effort needed to undertake a small field survey project and can only be circumvented with a thoughtful application of computer-assisted text analysis. Missing data in excavation report PDFs are not only intractable but also insidious due to their concealed nature, leading to poor outcomes in terms of (re)use. Consequently, the degree of data reuse in archaeology has been overestimated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-124
Number of pages8
JournalAdvances in Archaeological Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


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